Love is Love Farm at Gaia Gardens Off to a Great 2012 Season

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Forgive the delay in our posting for the 2012 season.  I just wanted to give you all a quick update on how the year is progressing and to let you all know how important your co-production is to our land and livelihoods!  This year our blog will feature the word and recipesmithing of myself, our Summer Emory Intern, Sumayya, and our long-time CSA member and volunteer coordinator extraordinaire, Kathleen.

We feel really blessed to be entering our second year at Gaia Gardens and our FIFTH(!) year of operating Love is Love Farm.  We are hoping to make this the best year yet with all of y’all, and are incredibly grateful for the opportunities to farm and steward such a phenomenal piece of land while basking the good food community that gathers around its bounty.

Just a quick recap on our winter and early spring projects:

  • we were able to take the farm crew to a regional farming conference in Little Rock, Arkansas, held by the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group.  Judith, Erin, Lois, and I shot across the South to hear educational workshops on composting, fungi, and food safety, amongst many farm topics, and to enjoy a weekend of camaraderie and solidarity with some of the Southern region’s most respected local food farmers. 
  • We presented at the 2012 Georgia Organics Conference on successful CSA strategies alongside the remarkably powerful Paige Witherington of Serenbe Farms. 
  • The inimitable David George and I taught a two-day workshop on shiitake mushroom inoculation and production strategies with around 20 attendees each day. 
  • Our composting program increased substantially through partnership with great Decatur restaurants, Leon’s Full Service and Farm Burger, whereby we collect food waste to decompose into delicious feeding-stock for our invaluable aerobic microorganisms. 
  • We also grew and have sold, and been selling, beautiful Summer seedlings at the East Atlanta and Grant Park Farmers’ Markets. 
  • Additionally, we have kept the farm on schedule, already harvested for our first six weeks of CSA and the EAV Farmers’ Market, given countless school farm tours, and received a grant from the USDA to build a high tunnel structure to extend our season for next Winter.  The USDA NRCS will also host a Field and Funding grant workshop for urban agriculture at Gaia Gardens in June.
  • We hosted the Bazaar Bizzaro, a country fair with circus flair on a farm, (photo of Judith and I on CBS morning show above) along with East Lake Commons and Slow Food Atlanta, and with the tireless help of amazing volunteers, performers, chefs, and crafters to fundraise for travel stipends for our Georgia 2012 Terra Madre delegates.  Terra Madre is the bi-annual gathering of Slow Food communities in Turin, Italy every two years.
  • We were featured in a couple of publications this Spring.  We were included in a Creative Loafing feature on small farmers that sell at the East Atlanta Village Farmers’ Market.  We were also a part of a Southern food tour article in Men’s Health magazine.    
  • Judith was also featured on 11 Alive at the East Atlanta Village Farmers’ Market talking about the benefits and importance of Wholesome Wave Georgia, our state organization that fundraises to double the value of SNAP benefits at many local farmers’ markets including our sister markets, the East Atlanta Village Farmers’ and the Grant Park Farmers’ Markets.
  • We are also in the preliminary planning stages for our on-farm dinner series, Young Guns!, which features the talents of our city’s best young chefs.
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